AAC Betting Preview: UCF Knights at Connecticut Huskies

Justin Holman is not Blake Bortles, but he has to improve for this Knights team to have a chance at an AAC title.
Justin Holman is not Blake Bortles, but he has to improve for this Knights team to have a chance at an AAC title.

Spread: UCF -10.5
Total: 39.5

Betting odds courtesy of Bookmaker

UCF is 5-2 on the season and a perfect 3-0 and according to college football oddsmakers, that conference record should remain flawless. UCF enters this week’s matchup against UConn as 10.5-point favorites in what could be a low scoring affair with the college odds setting the total at just 39.5

The total is understandable when one looks at the strength of the UCF Knights. UCF has held opponents to just 19.1 points per game while scoring 25.3 itself. The UCF offense lags behind in rushing yardage (119th) and passing yardage (82nd), but after losing two tough contests to Penn State and Mizzou in Weeks 1 & 2, the Knights have gone on to win five straight, though one was against Bethune Cookman (a 41-7 trouncing). Last week, UCF took it to Temple, beating the Owls 34-14 on the road.

UCF knew there would be a fall off after losing school-legend Blake Bortles to the NFL, and there has been quite a fall off. Justin Holman has thrown for 1,434 yards on a 57 percent completion clip, but lacks the NFL potential Bortles had, to say the least. He’s still thrown just six INTs to 11 TDs.

William Stanback has absorbed the role of the departed Storm Johnson much better, but his yards per carry are dangerously low at just 3.3. Still, he’s scored six TDs on the year while rushing for 364 yards. Holman himself has the third-highest rush total of 171 yards, but is still under three yards per carry. No. 2 back Dontravious Wilson has also been ineffective, with 2.9 yards per carry. The lack of rush production makes it more difficult on Holman.

Holman’s top target has been Breshad Perriman, who has 544 yards on the season with an outstanding 22.7 yards per catch, including a 61 yard TD. He’s scored four TDs on the season, and the Knights have just 11 as a team via the pass. Rushing has accounted for 10 TDs, as Stanback is a good red zone and short yardage back. Getting a guy of Johnson’s caliber would obviously propel the Knights back to where it was a season ago, but we’ll see what UCF is able to do with its future recruiting classes.

UConn has been predictably horrible, with its lone win coming against Stony Brook (who?). Following that win, the Huskies went on to lose its next five games, the last of which was a 10-point loss to East Carolina last week. Chandler Whitmer has struggled this season, throwing four INTs to just seven TDs. No Huskies back averages more than four yards per carry, something the Huskies have in common with UCF. Even so, expect the Knights to cruise to an easy victory, with college odds favoring the Knights by double-digits.

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